The Atomic Archipelago: American Empire and Nuclear Testing in the Pacific

By Zach Jellison

My research is focus on three different atolls in the Pacific. The first is Johnston Atoll, which is locate hundreds of miles off southwest of Hawaii. The other two are Enewetak and Bikini Atolls, which are currently part of the Marshall Islands. These islands were used as test sites by the United States after the Second World War because of their geographical distances from large human populations. These nuclear weapons that were tested left their mark on those who live and work in the region. The primary focus is on post-1945, but I will also briefly look at developments that took place before 1945. It is because Johnston Atoll has a greater history that goes back to antebellum America. It will provide further context to America’s role in the region.